Capsule, Mercury, MA-7


Display Status:

This object is not on display at the National Air and Space Museum. It is either on loan or in storage.

Collection Item Summary:

On May 24, 1962, M. Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in this capsule, becoming the fourth American in space and the second to go into orbit. His mission, Mercury-Atlas 7 (MA-7), lasted 4 hours and 56 minutes and included a number of scientific objectives. Carpenter made observations of Earth's weather, land masses, horizon, sunrises, and sunsets. He deployed a balloon to measure drag and provide information on visibility, but it did not inflate properly. His attitude control fuel was excessive, however, so he spent 77 minutes drifting to conserve fuel. Due to spacecraft alignment error when the retrorockets were fired, and a three-second delay, "Aurora 7" splashed down 250 miles beyond the intended landing point, and Carpenter spent nearly 3 hours on the water before recovery.

In October 1967, the Smithsonian Institution received this artifact from the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Collection Item Long Description:

Inventory Number


Credit Line

Transferred from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Country of Origin

United States of America


  • Skin & Structure: Titanium
  • Shingles: Nickel-steel alloy; Beryllium shingles removed
  • Ablation Shield: Glass fibers, resin


Overall: 112 in. tall x 73 in. wide, 2974 lb. (284.5 x 185.4cm, 1349kg)

Data Source

National Air and Space Museum

Restrictions & Rights

Do not reproduce without permission from the Smithsonian Institution, National Air and Space Museum